UNESCO learning cities from around the world celebrated World Teachers’ Day on 5 October 2021 by thanking teachers for their outstanding dedication and efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period.
In pursuit of effective education responses, many learning cities have mobilized cross-sectoral resources and promoted a variety of non-formal and informal learning initiatives to ensure continuity of education, and to equip and empower citizens with multifaceted tools to face the crisis. Teachers and educators have been at the heart of this educational response, from leveraging technology creatively to providing social and emotional support to students of all ages and targeting those most at risk of falling behind with take-home packages.
From Mantes-La-Jolie: ‘Just when the whole planet is crying out in despair, you, our teachers, stand up as one.’
Students from over 15 education institutions in the UNESCO learning city of Mantes-La-Jolie, France, took World Teachers’ Day as an opportunity to thank their teachers for their support during the pandemic. Leila, Apa, Irena, Mohamed and Enzo from the Collège Pasteur and Nouveau Collège Pasteur expressed their appreciation with a poem, and write: ‘Just when the whole planet is crying out in despair, you, our teachers, stand up as one, in front of a screen or a blackboard, to give us back the desire to learn and to give us hope. Thanks to your unfailing commitment, your initiatives and your considerable investment, we have avoided the worst’.
From students of the schools Mimosa, Les Capucines, Marie-Curie, Les Myosotis, and Louie et August Lumiere
It is clear that teachers have played an exceptional role during the pandemic for these students. On World Teachers’ Day, UNESCO underlined that it is time to empower teachers with the training, professional development, support and working conditions they need to deploy their talent.
From Shanghai: Teachers are central to community education
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become imperative for local governments to support their citizens in developing a sense of belonging to a common humanity, sharing empathy, respect and solidarity, and establishing community resilience. Teachers from the Hunan Community School, the Hunan Community Cultural Activity Centre and the Meilong Community School in the UNESCO learning city of Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China have done exactly this. These are major venues for local residents’ cultural activities, and serve as an important platform for promoting lifelong learning and community education for all during the pandemic and beyond. On World Teachers’ Day, students from these institutions wholeheartedly thanked their teachers for their work.
The message from students in all of these cities is clear: Teachers are key to our learning progress and emotional well-being, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. They must be supported in every way possible to recover learning losses and manage transformations in teaching and learning imposed by the pandemic.